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Villa 0 - Man City 1

Villa Park

12/2/12 16:00

Attendance: 35,132

Villa 0-1 Man City - Match Report

For the most part, I think that was pretty grim. Yeah OK, we only lost by one goal to an expensive, star-studded Manchester City side, but there was just nothing to get excited about. No imagination, no flair, nothing. What makes it worse was that we have now gone seven home games without a win, one of our worst runs ever throughout our proud history.

The streaker was the most entertaining thing about this game, and elicited the loudest and most deserving cheer, especially after the nifty footwork he used to get out of the stewards` firing line. But, just like a few of our first-team players, judging by the moves he was getting down to, he could do with a bit more work at Bodymoor on his ball control…

The BBC are telling me that only about 70 supporters turned up to the McLeish protest. That`s good. I understand that there aren`t many people who want him here, if anyone at all, but now is just completely the wrong time to start giving him grief. We`ve had a tough run of fixtures that has now ended, there`s still a bit of a gap between us and the teams that are in real trouble, and our next four games are completely winnable. Just to put things into context, a win against Wigan could take us up to 11th place.

Now, onto Gary Gardner. There`s no doubt that this lad is a brilliant prospect, but it was clear from today`s performance that he is just not ready to be a regular Premier League central midfielder. Some people might say that to say that after a performance against Man City is a bit harsh, but this is what he`s going to have to measure up against in future, so why shield him from it? I find it really hard to believe that people were slating McLeish for not including an inexperienced teenager in the team earlier on in the season.

The one other thing that I`d like to cover before I talk about the action on the pitch was the Holte End`s warm welcome for Joe Hart before the start of the second half. We seem to do this regularly and it really pees me off. Here is a rival goalkeeper, in a game that we want to win, who used to play for our fiercest rivals, and what do we do? We roll out the welcome mat to give him one of the cosiest receptions he`ll get this season. It couldn`t have been better for him unless we got a few lackeys from the crowd to get a reclining chair for him to sit on with a cup of tea! If Villa fans are more concerned with intimidating the manager over opposition players then something has gone severely wrong somewhere.

Anyway, in the beginning the match was a fairly typical midfield battle, with not much being created by either side in the entire first half. Adam Johnson`s effort was probably the stand-out of the first half, which hit the post just before the interval, and Sergio Aguero also managed the wriggle free twice but blazed both shots well and truly over the bar.

James Milner looked like he didn`t really want to be at Villa Park this afternoon, at least not in the away shirt anyway, judging by the amount of passes he gave to claret and blue shirts. It would be great to see him back at Villa sooner rather than later, he still doesn`t quite look himself in a Manchester City shirt.

Things weren`t completely terrible from a Villa perspective, but tame is probably the correct word to use. Richard Dunne managed two headed efforts straight at new Villa favourite Hart, and Man City certainly didn`t look as dangerous as they have done at times this season, plainly because we didn`t allow them to.

Things didn`t stay too favourable for long though, as from a corner fat Gareth hooked the ball into the path of bus-head and supposed Villa fan Lescott to finish. Villa fan? After that celebration? Just do one, you idiot. Mourinho will replace you in the summer anyway.

This did at least prompt McLeish to take the game to Man City a bit more, with N`Zogbia and Ireland both coming on, and it did seem to herald an improvement, marginally at least.

Carlos Cuellar, who had a great game in an unfamiliar position which is why I`ve given him my man of the match award, was a little unlucky with a free header right at the end from a corner just as Villa started to exert some serious pressure, and that wasn`t the end for City, as Collins` header, which fell for Bent to shoot, was serious enough to make Hart get out of his metaphorical recliner to deny Villa a share of the spoils.

So, we looked fairly solid, were a little unlucky, and could have got something out of the game right at the death. Plenty to suggest that we haven`t got too much to worry about then, especially as the season is nowhere near finishing yet. But, as a closing point, I would say that a minimum of eight points out of our next four games is absolutely vital (no pun intended) if we wanted to have a comfortable end to the season.

Have a good couple of weeks and I`ll see you in a month`s time for the Fulham game.

Star Player

Carlos Cuellar




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The Journalist

Writer: Holte139 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday February 12 2012

Time: 9:40PM

Your Comments

Im afraid we weren't unlucky I would say we were lucky Man C didn't even turn up and we only lost 1-0, we need at least 12 points to be safe and i have no confidence in ECK being capable to get us those 12 points, if we don't win the next 3 games we are in serious trouble...
KerryVillian
Holte139, I agree that Milner wasn't at his best today but he has been integral to what City have done this season, producing some fine motm performances along the way. I never understood the appointment of McLeish, having said that perhaps he just needs time, I feel he has a good squad at his disposal, he just needs to get everyone pulling in the same direction. Good luck for the rest of the season Villians.
Bluedub
The right-footed Albrighton is a waste of space playing wide left, and Heskey does not have one ounce of creativity on the right. Consequently we had nothing going forward. With another goal conceded from a set-piece, would it be heresy to say that we really miss Brad Friedel? Given just doesn't come for crosses or command his area. The next four games are all winnable, but if we don't win them, we will be in a relegation fight. And history tells us that McLeish isn't very good in relegation battles.
itplowe
Lets get real///We were very negative...but so was Hodgson abd MON and they got results..At preswent we are not good enough to take City on in an open game..and but for Carlos bad miss and Hart's great save we would have got a point...We are not a good side but got our tactics right today IMO
krfeskivilla
No, lets get it REALLY rightkrfeskivilla/// Yes we were very negative. Yes we're not good enough to really take Citeh on, but if you start with the best eleven we have available ie Zoggy and Ireland instead on playing Heskey and Albie (on the wrong wing) we may of made a game of it. Our "tactics" as you call them, were nothing short of pityful - unless you enjoy watching us chance shadows for most of the match. How the hell we managed to get 3 players booked is beyond me..... wehardly put a challenge in again today... a la Man Ure and Tottenham to name a few!!!
Pride of Lions
What an absolute load of rubbish - I stayed up to 1am to watch the dire first half and caved in to go to bed and skip the 2nd half - seems like I made the right decision.....36% possession at home says it all to me......utter tosh.
YatesyVillan
How can you play three front men at home and then put 10 men behind the ball for 80mins?
Thaibluefan
How can you play three front men at home and then put 10 men behind the ball for 80mins?
Thaibluefan
11 men behind the ball Thaibluefan... If you going to complain atleast tell it like it is :P City were there for the taking... But we put out probably the worst possible line up possible. Hopefully Gardner bounces back, games like that against the best in the league can destroy a youngster. And Cuellar showing why he should be starting every game! 15th in the league... Disgusting!
Astriel
Maybe we were trying to bore city to death, they werent at theitr best but didnt need to be our brilliant game plan,is this plan A ? must be Ive seen it before its called keep the score down.
Merlin128777
On the little TV screen on Vital Villa he keeps saying ' I think we had a game plan' I think!! I think I need a drink.
eltoro
It seems to me that the consensus--overwhelmingly-- is that McLeish isn't wanted @ the Villa. It also seems --as Holte 139 seems to suggest--that now is absolutely the wrong time for the owner to dispense with his services. The summer will be the right time for that. Those people calling for his head right now should get real. Villa will, in all probability, finish mid-table. The club has no right to a top six finish. What Randy Lerner should be doing now is looking at/sounding out a decent replacement. Villa are a club crying out for a 'Director of Football' or something similar. RL needs someone to help him bring in a hungry, tactically astute coach for the long term. Italy, Spain, Portugal and Germany would be good places to look. Houllier and McLeish have (sadly) ended in tears as I, and many others, predicted.
VillaWillRiseAgain
I must say, the most worrying thing for me this season, is that when I watch us, I don't feel disappointed or angry, just bored. The amount I've times I've watched games on the box (I work for a lower league club down south, don't give me grief!) and fell asleep at half time is...well, I'm running out of fingers and toes to count on! Just once, just once this season I'd like to see us press high up the pitch at home and force the oppo into mistakes, but all we get is lose possessin, everyone drop into the defensive half before we apply pressure. Not entertaining 1 bit
Francobaresi13
He says we haven't the players to go gung ho ???? we were gung ho enough last week at St James Park and at Stamford Bridge ??? City are good at home but not so away ... too much respect, no closing down and just let them play around us ...... poor tactics no supply to Keane or Bent ......... Gardner looked lost as he's an attacking MF not DM, Albrighton looked lost on the left ... Heskey has been lost for six years now .... I'm not going to endure another 90 minutes at VP again, keep saying give him time etc ..... and it gets worse .... he says we've got no midfield ? Banan / Ireland / Nzogbia / Petrov / Makoun / Albrighton ??? not played or played out of position or loaned out ? ..... we are mimicking Blues from last year and its looking worrying. We could be a top six/seven side easily with the right tactics, we outplayed Newcastle who are 5th, we beat Chelsea who are fourth, our squad has talent that others around us haven't got, supply Bent three good balls he'll score one, Ireland and Nzogbia have shown their skill of late its just defence that is poor and he keeps refusing to blame them and make a change. He hasn't a clue and Villa Park should be a fortress, I watched the Sky highlights back home and Dwight Yorke was spot on, he layed it all on McLeish and his negativity.
astonmilan
I am no longer going to defend Eck saying this defence has let him down blah blah, yesterday i could not believe we so scared to have a go, absolutely de-moralising he has gotta go.
clivethevillan
Gardner was good at Chelsea, and seemed a game changer in his bref appearance at the Newcastle match. We must not focus on a less impressive performance versus City, when he was left isolated of assistance in terms of creativty. Alby is no good in a game like that when we are on the back foot - he needs space and momentum around him. Gardner deserves a decent run alongside 2 of Ireland, Zoggy, Bannan backed by Petrov and hopefully Gabby soon back up front alongside Bent. We cannot continue with things we know do not work, and must have faith enough to give Gardner a proper chance- then judge them. So far Ckark and Herd have shown they are up to the mark now. I think Gardner will be too.
stennyvilla
Didnt know where else to voice it but a lovely touch by Joe Hart right at the end giving a villa fan his kit! Goes to show there is at least a few decent people in football. I hope our kids use him as a role model, great guy!!
Chelt Villan
Welcome over to the dark side Clive, nobody can say you didn't give ECK a chance, and stenny have to agree except for Bannan really don't think he will make prem level but can imagine a future midfield of Clark and Herd holding mid and Gardner higher up the pitch, given time they could be a force.
KerryVillian
I have to say I think I could write a better match report - so here goes. We were at home and decided to play a right footed centre half at left back, a right winger on the left wing and a centre forward at right wing. We decided to have a right winger who cost £10m on the bench holding hands with the midfielder who has performed best in recent weeks. We went for the 0 - 0 draw and got what we deserved. End of report. As a footnote - we are being led in to the abyss by the worst performing Villa manager in living memory. We can hope that the points gathered at the start of the season may just keep us up. As McMuppet has instilled his ways onto the team we have just got worse and worse.
voiceoftheholte
 

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